Infections with gut-dwelling parasitic worms are extraordinarily common. They cause feelings of ill health and represent a significant cost to society. Indeed, worm infections are one of the most significant factors that trap developing countries into poverty. Most infections are long term, lasting for years. During this time the parasitic worms damage the gut. The gut becomes inflamed and cells of the immune system enter the damaged tissue from the bloodstream. It is vital that mechanisms are in place to both limit the damage response and repair the damage when the infection has gone. My research aims to understand how damage to the gut is regulated and resolved, to understand how immune responses protect against gut dwelling worms and to understand the mechanisms by which vaccines promote resistance to infection.
Kathryn Else is a Professor of Immunology in the Faculty of Life Sciences.
Kathryn obtained a first class honours degree in Zoology in 1985 at the University of Nottingham. She was awarded a Post Graduate Certificate in Education in 1986 and completed her PhD, also at the University of Nottingham, in 1989 focussing on aspects of immunity to intestinal nematode parasites. She continued to pursue her interest in parasite immunology at the University of Manchester, first as an MRC post-doctoral training fellow (1989) then a Wellcome Trust Fellow (1992) before becoming a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow in Basic Biomedical Science in 1995. She became a Senior Lecturer in 2007 and Professor of Immunology in 2009.
Kathryn has published extensively in the field of immunity to infection and has been funded by the Wellcome Trust, BBSRC and MRC. Kathryn leads a research group of ten researchers and has successfully supervised through to completion 12 PhD students. Her group is particularly interested in the cellular events which occur locally at the site of infection with work in this area addressing the important question of how local stimulation of the innate immune system to precipitate worm expulsion is integrated with anti-inflammatory signals to avoid host damaging immunopathology. Her group is also exploring the mechanisms by which vaccination protects against infection and how circadian control of immune responses impacts on resistance to infection and vaccine efficacy.